Like a lot of girls, you have to know me pretty well before you see me without my makeup. Before I was in primary school, I played with my mother’s No.7 and to this day I have long debates with my friends about which item we would take to a desert island (eyebrow pencil, always). Therefore I was thrilled when Kristina Gasperas, the award winning bridal makeup artist, agreed to put down her brushes and have a chat. The perfect Hotcourses expert, Kristina gave up her corporate job and trained as a makeup artist, after her own wedding day makeover. Five years later, with an amazing portfolio and a national award under her belt, it is safe to say she has made it. Telling me, ‘It’s never too late to start something new as long as it is something you feel passionate about,’ whether you are a splash of lipstick and mascara kind of girl, or a Kim Kardashian-style contouring queen, this is one lady worth listening to.
How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been a makeup artist for five and a half years now. To become successful you have to become one of the best at what you do. To reach the top you need to have the best training you can afford; the knowledge upon which you build your career can make or break your success. A house cannot be built without strong foundations and the same is true for your career. I studied makeup privately for two months and had a wonderful teacher, to whom I attribute a big part of my success. She is an amazing human being and an incredible expert in the field of bridal, editorial and special occasion makeup. After that I took several shorter specialist makeup courses all over the UK and Europe. I continue to attend various makeup related events and seminars to continuously improve my skills, and keep up with the ever changing trends and products.
What made you decide to get into the industry?
On my wedding day I had the most amazing bridal makeover experience. That was the moment I knew I’d like to do this job for a living and make women happy, confident and beautiful. It’s never too late to start something new as long as you feel passionate about it.
What has been the highlight of your makeup career so far?
Winning ‘The Best Bridal Makeup Artist’ national title at the Wedding Industry Awards 2013; receiving this title reassured me that I am going in the right direction. It feels amazing to know that my work is valued and appreciated.
What is the hardest part of your job?
This is a hard one to answer; it’s a very rewarding and satisfying job so I don’t really have any bad sides. If I had to pick, I would probably say the super early 4am wake up calls. Sometimes when I’m working long days I miss not seeing my son and husband enough. Also, at the start of a new career, the first couple of years can be difficult when you are working hard to spread the word about your existence. If after the first year you start getting lots of recommendations from your previous clients, your diary fills up and your bookings increase. Usually the hardest part for makeup artists is to keep their diary filled. However, if you are good at what you do, you become in demand and you don’t have to worry about this side of the job.
Bridal makeup is very personal, how do you make sure your clients love what you create on such an important day?
I always take a lot of time asking questions about their personal style, their own makeup habits, the style and theme of their wedding, their dress choice and their expectations. A natural look for one person can be a reasonably made up look for someone else. Therefore I always ask lots of questions to establish what looks they like, what makeup they would do themselves, whether they have had makeup done before and what they liked or disliked. I am aware of the power of makeup, so I always create a look that is most flattering, enhancing and discreetly correcting. My aim is to make women look themselves, but a much better version, in fact the best they have ever looked.
What are the tricks to make sure makeup looks good in photographs or on camera?
You have to ensure that there is the right amount of contouring and definition. You need the right products that don’t reflect back if the flash is used and that the face is not looking shiny on the T zone – nobody wants to look greasy in photographs. A makeup artist also needs to consider if the photographs will be taken in natural daylight, with or without flash or studio lights and what temperature lighting will be used. All of this influences how makeup appears on film, and without understanding this, it is hard to achieve a look that will photograph beautifully.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t do it for the money – only do it if you are absolutely passionate about makeup artistry.
In your opinion, what is the hardest thing for beginners to get the hang of when it comes to makeup?
It is a very precise art – you are ‘drawing’ on people’s faces and not on a sheet of paper. Understanding and mastering corrective techniques is usually pretty tough for new makeup artists. Also understanding how colours and tones work with different skin, hair, eye and clothes colours can be difficult to master. As is interpreting client wishes at the start! It does get easier with practice – I promise.
What is the biggest mistake you see women make when it comes to makeup?
They apply makeup for the sake of applying, without making the most of their features. Makeup should not be applied to be visible; it should discreetly enhance one’s face. This is what I love about the power of the right makeup application, but if it is not right the effect may be the opposite of what women actually want to achieve.
Finally, if you were on a desert island, what makeup product would you want with you?
A tinted moisturiser with a sunscreen as I wouldn’t want sunburnt, rough and dry skin. Beautiful skin is the foundation of looking amazing.
If, like me, you are itching to get in front of the mirror and learn from the experts, why not sign up to a makeup course? Whether you want to perfect your own look for a night out, or take it up professionally, we are sure you will find a course for you. So pack your makeup bag and get learning!
Photos: Kristina Gasperas